Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Today we head back to Sofia, stopping at various scenic places on the way, and then tomorrow I take off on my own into the wilds of Bulgaria for a few days. We’ll see how I function in a country with the Cyrillic alphabet.  Meanwhile, in Dobrzyn, Andrzej produces one of his more enigmatic Hili […]

An experiment: an open thread

My absence in Bulgaria, and inability to post so often, has prompted this experiment: a readers’ thread.  Feel free to post links or even videos that you think might start a conversation, and see if you can keep it going. Feel free to change the subject if you’ve talked one dry. Go!

Guest post: The relationship between Islam and female genital mutilation

Dr. Oliver Scott Curry works on the evolution of morality at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford. Just to check out Reza Aslan’s claim that female genital mutilation (FGM) was an African rather than an Islamic problem, Curry did a preliminary statistical analysis. As you’ll see below, his results (and he emphasizes again that they’re tentative […]

Caturday felids trifecta: The cats of Sofia; Swiss try to pass one-cat-per-house rule; Cat fights washing machine

Three items today, just so I don’t miss a Caturday. But I’m in a rush, as I’m speaking at the Ratio conference this afternoon. So let us hasten to the felids: I’ve seen two live street cats in Sofia, but they were moving too fast to either pet or photograph. Fortunately, the Bulgarians love cats, […]

I have landed

It was a long flight–9 hours to Munich, a three-hour layover, and then two hours to Sofia. But I’m here, and so far things are looking good. My hosts, who are lovely people, picked me up at the airport and took me to my hotel, and then to a delicious Italian meal (I had gnocchi […]

Fantastic slo-mo video of butterfly courtship

by Matthew Cobb This video was posted on Instagram and tw**ted by @phil_torres, who took the video *and edited it* on his iPhone 6. It really is quite astonishing! Phil reckons the species is Heliconius ismenius. The male is flying, the female is resting. The movement of the male’s abdomen up and down involves casting pheromones […]

Note to readers: peregrinations

I’m back in Chicago for 1.5 days, but after tomorrow evening I’m not sure how regular my connection to the Internet will be. I will, therefore, ask readers to hold off sending me articles until I return from Bulgaria on Oct. 27.  If you have something that you absolutely need to call to my attention, […]

Sam Harris responds to the Islam fracas

Here’s a clip with Sam Harris on yesterday’s “The Last Word,” Lawrence O’Donnell show on MSNBC. As usual, Sam is calm and eloquent, but makes his point forcefully, asking for Muslims as a whole to create a “groundswell” repudiating the kind of behavior evinced not only by ISIS, but the less extremist but still tribalistic and barbaric […]

My New Republic piece on Dawkins vs. Gray

The New Republic kindly offered to print (and offer a bit of remuneration for) a revised version of the post I wrote criticizing John Gray’s vicious ad hominem attack on Richard Dawkins—a smear thinly disguised as a review of Dawkin’s autobiography. Curiously, Gray’s ill-tempered screed was originally published in The New Republic as well. Kudos to […]

Update on the Lebanon, Missouri case

The Lebanon, Missouri case, in which Principal Kevin Lowery of Lebanon High School said a Christian prayer at the school graduation, has now drawn to a close. After stonewalling the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s (FFRF’s) complaints twice, the school board finally produced a bunch of emails about the issue in response to a request under […]


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